The essence of this twenty page essay is actually quite simple: Don't complicate things more than they need to be. Of course, George Orwell also goes in-depth in regards to how poor language makes people stupider as well as how complex terms are used by people in power to present their atrocities in a softer light.
As an added bonus the end of the booklet consists of Mr. Orwell's review of the 'Mein Kampf'. It is definitely an interesting read.
This is a revolutionary essay. Not in direct terms. It is not as soaring as most political tracts, but it shows how language and rhetoric are political and how politics manifests itself through rhetoric. The prose is succinct and direct, but there are also nuances in the essay that can be appreciated if considered at once with Orwell's other writing.
Orwell was a brilliant thinker and his musings are captured well in this short and quick read. He discusses how the desire to be perceived as a good writer has forced people to abandon original thought and become pretentious and repetitive with their writing.
"The fascist octopus has sung its swansong. The Jackboot has been cast into the melting pot." George Orwell witnessed some of the most appalling writing and this made-up example was sadly not much of an exaggeration. In seeking to make a difference to the way Socialists write, Orwell produced this little essay which is now available for Kindle.
And if you read 1984, you will see that in Newspeak some of the tendencies apparent in English prose reach their apotheosis.
Orwell's simple rules are listed here as,
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous
They are very good... I almost said "rules of thumb there" but stopped myself in time :)